Monday, February 25, 2008

My first blog post!

Basically, I'm tired of posting things on the (otherwise excellent) message boards and getting absolutely no response whatsoever.

Like anyone will have any responses here either!

But anyway.

Here's the contents of a post I recently made on okayplayer that sunk immediately:

"Noodly love and hate post. (complete with baseless comparisons!)"

I finally was able to get the Durutti Column's latest album —Idiot Savants— and, even after the few overwhelmingly postive reviews I read beforehand, it completely blew me away. It combines the up close and personal intimcay of Tempus Fugit with the colorful world-meets-revamped Vini Reilly seemingly pushing out as many new ideas as he possibly can at once. Like his past four or five albums, it sounds undeniably like the Durutti Column, yet nothing like anything that has come before it.

I didn't really know what to think of the first tune, but then 'Interleukin 2 (for anthony)' came on and I knew it was something special about this album. Although raising the question how many times can he make a dedication to Tony Wilson, it becomes quite poignant in the aftermath of Wilson's death and the final vocals finally coming into focus as "Life can be so hard." Pretty stunning stuff, actually. I had seen YouTube clips of the band playing '2 Times Nice' live and the sound quality left something to be desired, but it always showed promise. Now, to have this studio version intact is great, but to also have the song be one of the record's best is just a treat within itself. And then there's 'Gathering Dust' which I've yet to even fully grasp. It gave me chills after one listen, that's all I'm saying.

I dare say, with his current streak (that started a few years ago with Someone Else's Party), this may just be his best album in roughly twenty years. And it's easily neck and neck with the Martin Hannett stuff... maybe even better than that.

And that brings me to the other side of the coin. And just let me preface this by saying that this comparison comes from nothing else but the fact that I purchased these two records at the same time.

I'm not sure if it was because it had the unfortunate duty of being listened to directly after Idiot Savants or if it just isn't very good but Chris Walla's Field Manual kind of... well, it's kind of a piece of shit. Now, in all fairness, there was one or three tracks that came on and I said to myself, "Ok, this is really good" (mainly 'Sing Again' and 'Unsustainable'). Otherwise, he has a very obnoxious voice. And I don't know if that's just his voice or if he's doing, what I call, 'crooning it up' (in which folks who have an otherwise not good singing voice try too hard to cover that fact up). And talk about overproduction trying to be passed off as a modest presentation in the songs. If I wanted Fleetwood Mac, I would've thrown on Rumours. It's unfair of me to expect him to make a bunch of songs that sound like Death Cab throwaways (which Ben Gibbard did on his solo record and it came out great, but that makes sense), but man, he really cheesed it up. I was expecting strings and a brass section by the second half.

I really didn't know what to expect from the album, but I at least expected to like it, just based on Chris Walla's other involvements and knowing how much of an audiophile techie nerd he is (also, Barsuk putting 'Sing Again' as the pre-release teaser stream on their website didn't help either, as it set the bar rather high). A disappointment, to say the very least.

I really didn't think I was as old as I now realize I am; after getting way more out of Idiot Savants than I had ever imagined I would and simultaneously realizing Field Manual is a throwaway cash-in of a record.

The moral of the story is:

Vini Reilly = priceless
Chris Walla = useless


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